Though it’d be a most daunting task, one day I’d like to compile together my all-time top 100 favorite~♥ J-Pop songs including all groups/artists I’ve come to love over the years and while pondering this daunting task I’d been listening to and watching Imai Miki’s latest and may I say GRANDEST collection of them all!~! Just released on October 7th and appropriately titled “Premium IVORY –The Best Songs of All Time-”, the Limited Edition is a must have as it’s a 2 CD set which is accompanied by an incredible live performance collection DVD!!!!! Note the latter being well worth the price of admission alone! In all there are 31 immaculately selected songs from Imai Miki’s sizable catalog, all of which are noted to have been remastered with the added bonus being the UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality CD) format which applies to both CDs. I’ll just say that the remastering sounds GREAT as I have a few of her older albums to compare with and as far as the UHQCD format ….not to worry as it’s totally compatible with standard CD players ^^.
And while I only have a modest collection of her music which includes 6 of her albums and most of these were purchased during my experimental J-Pop period, I can totally attest to this latest collection being comprised of her greatest songs without question as throughout the years I’ve come across many performances, singles and other songs outside of my immediate collection, all truly warranting such a boast.
Now if you’ve not yet experienced the music of Imai Miki, what immediately comes to mind the second that you hear her voice is just how elegant, full of nuance and graceful it is …..all honed masterfully within this great range and power and in this regard she’s part of quite an exclusive group of artists in J-Pop. A good analogy I think would be to compare the aura of her voice to Barbra Streisand’s if you’re going for a Western comparison as her vocals are without question a strongly projected one that yet floats with a seemingly effortless flow. Every note and nuanced~touch so perfect and beautiful. Imai Miki debuted in the mid 80’s and luckily a lot of her back catalog was still available all those years ago when I first had the pleasure of hearing her, with the earliest album that I was able to find of hers back then being from 1987, titled “Elfin.” Through the years her music has seamlessly adapted to the changes in style all the while that immaculate elegance has remained intact as her voice is that of an almost trademarked ability and is instantly a recognizable tone.
Her live performances resemble more of a “concert hall” experience (but don’t think it binding at all times as she surely can get her pop and rock on! ^^) and as a true test of her vocal ability she sounds equally amazing and perhaps even better live as she does in her recorded works. For this reason I’ve chosen just below, two gorgeous ballads, an upbeat stunner as well as a heartfelt performance accompanied by Imai Miki on piano herself! All performances are from the Premium Ivory’s (-The Best Songs of All Time-) Limited Edition DVD….
~“PIECE OF MY WISH”~
Now getting back to the whole Top 100 J~Pop Fave~♥ Songs of All Time!~! ….I’m beginning here with Imai Miki’s “PIECE OF MY WISH”, a song easily in my top 20 and without question one of the greatest ballads ever performed and written, and YES that’d be all-time.
I simply can’t stress enough just how beautiful this song is so just imagine me going on and on and gushing about it more than I possibly have done before on this site! Well that’s probably difficult to imagine as the gush-o-meter has hit its peak many a times before…think Mr.Children~AWESOME! ヽ(。´▽`。)ノ。。！！ This song is also a most notable drama theme song, one of the great ones from yesteryear in which Imai Miki stars in herself ^^.
PIECE OF MY WISH
Asa ga kuru made naki yoru mo tsuzuketa
Arukidaseru chikara ni kitto dekiru
I cried all night until morning came
I’ll surely find the strength to start walking
Taiyou wa or kokoro nobori tsutsumu deshou
Yagate akete kanarazu yami wa yuku kara
I guess the sun has risen to conceal my heart
Because soon the darkness will certainly grow bright
Doushite motto jibun ni Sunao ni ikirenai no
Sonna omoi nagara toikake
Akiramenai de subete ga kuzure sou ni natte mo
Shinjiteite Anata no koto o
Why can’t I be more honest with myself?
I’m asking myself those things
Don’t give up, even when it seems everything is falling apart
I’ll keep on believing in you
Hontou wa dare mo ga negai o no kanaetai
Umaku yukanai dakedo toki mo aru wa
Truly, everyone wants to grant a wish
But sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want
Kibou no kakera o te no hira ni atsumete
Ooki na yorokobi e to yukou kaete
If you collect fragments of hope in the palm of your hand
You can change them into wonderful joy
Ai suru hito ya tomodachi ga yuuki kureru yo zukete
Dakishimeraretara nagara Sonna kotoba
Saigo no dakedo hitori de wa kotae Mitsukeru no ne
Meguri tsuzuku ashita no tame ni
My friends and loved ones give me courage
I’m holding tight to those words
But the final answer one must find by themself
Continuing forth for tomorrow
Ame ni kimochi makenai or honoo you kuguri nukeru
Sonna tsuyosa mochi tsuzuketai
Sore de mo itsuka subete ga kuzure sou ni natte mo
Shinjiteite Anata no koto o
Shinjiteite hoshii anata no koto o
My feelings (heart) are undefeated by the rain
And passes through the flame; I want to persist that strongly
And so someday, even when it seems everything is falling apart
I’ll keep on believing in you
I want to keep on believing in you
Surely a perfect Imai Miki collection must include her heartfelt song “Pride”, and here as this release states ….is the very best live performance I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing!
I love how these definitely selected live performances span such a vastness of Imai Miki’s incredible career, and here her immaculate performance of “Hansode” presents Imai Miki the pianist …this lovely live performance going a ways back into her illustrious career.
~“The Days I Spent With You”~
And to end here I’ve included as promised an upbeat performance of the mid temp masterpiece “The Days I Spent With You” ..! I hope you enjoy ^^.